Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I loved my father, I loved him dearly, and am so grateful that I took the time to tell him so and to show my love. But that did not prevent me from getting spitting mad at him. He would do and say things that he knew annoyed me, and only later did I realize that he would do so with a devilish grin I could not see. I should have known, because my father was the worlds greatest tease. He teased everyone, my mother, his grandchildren, and all of his nieces and nephews, so why wouldn’t he tease me.

My father’s life was difficult, with more than one man’s share of disappointments. Some were the results of choices he made, others from unforeseen circumstances, including disabling coronary artery disease at a relatively young age. He relied on my mother for so many things, and when she died it left him a lonely man. This placed a lot of pressure on me,an only child, for I could not escape the feeling that he was depending upon me for his happiness, and I did not want that responsibility. I
thought that was fair to me. I would gladly help him in any way I could, (he lived in a small home on our farm that he and my mother moved into several years before she died.), and willingly accepted my responsibilities as a son, but I did not want to be held responsible for making him happy.

Then came the stroke. He had weakness but no paralysis in an arm and leg, and rather dense aphasia (inability to find words to speak). For a man who loved the company of family and friends with wine, food, and conversation, this could be devastating. After a brief period of rehabilitation he came home from the hospital to live with Patience and me. And that marked the beginning of the best years of our lives. My father was happy! He was not the depressed, frustrated man we expected to take home with us. I was happy because of his attitude, and because I was able to do for him what he and my mother did for my grandfather who lived with us during my childhood. Patience was happy because she knew my father adored her. Until he died, which fortunately was sudden, but with enough time for us to be with him, we were a family in every sense of the word.

Because of his poor health for so many years I had plenty of opportunity to think about his death, and always, I imagined the grief and the guilt I would experience. Guilt because I could have been a better son to him, more forgiving of what I perceived to be flaws in his character. But I was in for still another surprise. There has been no guilt, only the recognition of what a warm and loving man he was. He loved his family and friends fearlessly, and he loved humanity. He was giving and caring, and treated everyone with the same respect and humility. It recognize now the precious gifts he has bestowed upon me. No father could do more for a son.


dog face girls said...

Oh Bill that was wonderful. Thanks for the peek into your live.



Linda said...

And I'd bet you are the same kind of good dad... :-)